Lynn LaChapelle, a managing director of the Capital Markets Group for Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL), remains upbeat even during a downturn.
LaChapelle said the number of commercial property transactions, which had dropped to a trickle in 2009, are beginning to accelerate once more.
"Sales doubled here in 2010," LaChapelle said. She expects the transaction volume to increase by another 25 percent in 2011.
About 30 percent of these transactions are the result of distress, said LaChapelle, who has handled more than $9 billion in sales and leasing transactions during more than 25 years in the industry. However, much depends on the asset class and where the properties are located.
On the office side, LaChapelle said she has seen a great deal of interest in Rancho Bernardo. Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has gone into about 200,000 square feet in the Summit this fall, Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) recently added 90,000 square feet at its existing location in the Discovery Corporate Center, Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) is going into 93,000 square feet in The Point, and Palomar College recently paid $38.3 million for 110,000 square feet in the Bernardo Terrace office building in June. That property has an adjacent pad that could accommodate another 110,000 square feet for the college if necessary.
This most recent activity has had the effect of bringing an office vacancy that had been least 25 percent last year to only about the 6 percent range today.
The Nokia move may have been good for The Summit, but it was bad news for the Scripps Northridge property where Nokia had originally occupied 325,000 square feet. Nokia downsized to about 200,000 square feet before moving to The Summit.
Yet LaChapelle doesn't believe Scripps Northridge will remain vacant for very long.
"There's a fairly large tenant looking for about 200,000 square feet so it might go there," she said.
LaChapelle said she expects at least one office building sale in Kearny Mesa and a couple of sizable office building sale in downtown San Diego as well.
Not everything is as LaChapelle would like. Carlsbad's office vacancy was about 30 percent as of the end of the third quarter.
"Carlsbad's industries haven't recovered yet, but other submarkets are improving. We're coming out of this," she said.
As a managing director, LaChapelle leads all activity for capital markets transactions in San Diego. She and brother Bob Prendergast lead the valuation, marketing and disposition of premier office, industrial and biotechnology buildings throughout the region.
Prior to joining Jones Lang LaSalle, LaChapelle was a principal and senior vice president with Burnham Real Estate for 17 years.
LaChapelle has represented a wide range of clients in sales and leasing transactions during her career. Notable among these are corporate campus acquisitions for Biosite (Nasdaq: BSTE) and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), and acquisitions and dispositions on behalf of Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Ligand Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: LGNDD).
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